Thursday, February 09, 2017

Stunning Success: Ben Shapiro at Marquette

It was an event the campus left hated: Ben Shapiro, an actual conservative speaker at Marquette.

Not only did a staffer from the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies attempt to sabotage the event by advising leftists to get tickets and not show up (depriving a student who wanted to see the speech of admittance), but the campus feminist group Empowerment circulated a deranged letter accusing Shapiro of racism, xenophobia and hateful rhetoric.

But in fact, the event went off without a hitch.

Given the history of leftist mobs disrupting Shapiro events, it seemed that extra security would be needed. Initially, Marquette suggested that the Young Americans for Freedom, the group staging the event, would have to pay for the extra security. A terrible idea, this tactic (often used by universities hostile to conservative speech) amounts to a tax on any speech the campus left dislikes. Happily, Marquette backed down.

There were private security people at the event (paid by Marquette) and several of the campus police. Further, Shapiro has his own body guard. And the security people were instructed to remove anybody who caused any major disruption — in marked contrast to many universities where leftists are allowed to shut down events with impunity.

So far, two news outlets have published stories on the talk:
Shapiro addressed various bogus liberal themes. For example, poverty. If you don’t want to be in poverty, he said, do three things: (1) don’t have babies until you are married, (2) finish high school, and (3) get a job. Sound social science, but not things the left wants to hear.

But according to Shapiro “facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Invited Questions from Leftists

Shapiro answered questions for an extended period, and especially invited questions from leftists. Several leftists challenged him, all in a civil way. And Shapiro, who is often caustic in his speeches, responded in an earnest and respectful way.

In an epic exchange, one leftist challenged Shapiro about “institutional racism.” Shapiro responded by demanding to know what that means, and offered to fight it, if the questioner could specify exactly what should be fought. The questioner could not, an implicit admission that he had accepted vague rhetoric in the absence hard facts or analysis.

To his credit, this same leftist told Channel 6 that “By the end of the back and forth, I think we both had been respectful. I think we both learned something.”

Extremely gracious, Shapiro accepted requests from questioners to shake his hand and even to have a selfie made with him.

Conclusion

All this, of course, is exactly the sort of discourse that ought to take place on a college campus. But it is significant that a conservative student group, and not the Marquette administration, arranged it.

All that the Marquette administration has produced is the dour, race baiting moralists.

The contrast is stunning.

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